News Ed Balls denied the claim that he would go beyond a 50p top tax rate

Ed Balls has vowed to increase the top tax rate for high earners to 50p

British Gas owner poised for role in UK fracking

Centrica, British Gas’s owner, is in talks to buy into Cuadrilla Resources, chaired by the former BP chief executive Lord Browne, in a move that could boost the UK’s nascent shale gas industry.

The Pawnbroker logo hangs outside a pawn shop in Walthamstow in London, England

Austerity to last until 2020: expect hard times for a decade, say think tanks

'We are still as far away from the target of balancing the deficit as we were in 2010'

Surprise fall in UK trade gap caps feelgood week

The UK's goods trade deficit tumbled by £1 billion to £8.2 billion in April, making it £600 million smaller than expected and the lowest since January. Including the services surplus, the overall deficit shrank from £3.2 billion to £2 billion.

Recovery hopes boost after trade deficit drops to £2.6bn

Recovery hopes have received a further boost after figures revealed the gap between the UK's exports and imports dropped by more than expected to £2.6 billion in April.

Ed Miliband faced Conservative claims of 'hypocrisy'

Tories brand Ed Miliband a 'hypocrite' over Labour donor's tax avoidance

Party helped John Mills avoid tax of up to £1.5m by accepting a £1.65m donation in the form of shares in his JML shopping channel company rather than cash

'I'll scrap winter fuel payouts for rich pensioners' says Ed Balls

Ed Balls on Labour's spending plans: We would scrap winter fuel payouts for rich pensioners

Shadow chancellor says Labour would axe grant for 600,000 better off pensioners

Ben Chu: Why isn't a global tax on multinational profits on the agenda for G8?

Outlook Big Brother watched you. And Google? Google just loves you. The internet search leviathan's boss Eric Schmidt told us so this week. "Google will continue to invest in the UK no matter what you guys do," he told the audience at the company's annual Big Tent shindig this week. "We love you guys too much".

Services sector boosts economic recovery

The UK's return to growth was underlined today as revised figures confirmed the dominant services sector helped the economy expand by 0.3% in the first three months of the year.

Gary Oldman: Other actors from the Harry Potter franchise have done well at the Baftas in recent years, with Jim Broadbent (’Moulin Rouge’, 2001), Imelda Staunton (’Vera Drake’, 2004), Bill Nighy (‘Love Actually’, 2003) and Helena Bonham Carter (‘The King’s Speech’, 2010) among recent winners

The so-called 'Robin Hood Tax' will rob pensioners and small businesses not just bankers

The Financial Transactions Tax nicknamed the "Robin Hood Tax" might be popular with celebrities, but Osborne's objections are rooted in economic good sense

Andy McSmith's Diary: A soapbox for the rich and obstinately opinionated

If you have money to throw away and a mind bunged up with prejudices you feel you must share, all you need do these days is contact the advertising department of The Times.

George Osborne: 'Confidence is returning to financial markets'

George Osborne: Changing course on economy will take Britain 'back to square one'

Chancellor tells CBI's annual dinner that his economic plan is 'taking longer than anyone hoped,' but insisted real progress is being made

Treasury missing MP letters response target

Almost half the letters sent to the Treasury by MPs and peers are not responded to within the target time of 15 working days, figures revealed today.

Osborne has paid lip service to tackling tax havens, but when will the hard work actually start?

Ten of the world’s tax havens are UK-linked territories - the British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. The clue is in the names.

Keynes might have had time for the George Osborne plan

The target of Niall Ferguson's attack has also been traduced by economic convervatives

Editorial: Chancellor takes a wrong turn

The 'greenest government ever' ought to be doing its best to get the most out of existing roads
News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
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The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
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Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
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Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
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Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
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An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
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Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
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Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
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Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own